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U.S.-Pakistan relations strained further with case of jailed diplomat

A foreign ministry official said that the government itself is divided over the case. The ministry has determined that Davis is immune from prosecution based on his passport and diplomatic visa, and the fact that Pakistan "accepted" that when Davis first arrived in the fall of 2009, the official said.

Other parts of the government, he said, see some advantage in using the situation to prove the government's independence from Washington. But the Americans, he said, "have dropped hints they could go to any extent" to get Davis released.

Further complicating the situation, a Pakistani intelligence official said that the two men Davis killed were not, as he has said, armed robbers intent on stealing money, his telephone and perhaps his car, but intelligence agents assigned to tail him. This official said the two intended to frighten Davis because he crossed a "red line" that the official did not further define.

Both the military's Inter-Services Intelligence service and the Interior Ministry's Intelligence Bureau regularly use motorcycle tails to track the movement of U.S. officials, another Pakistani official said.

The Pakistani media has also suggested that Davis is being held hostage to a wrongful-death case brought in New York by family members of four Americans killed in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. U.S. and Indian officials have blamed the attack on the Pakistani organization Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has long-standing ties to ISI. Four senior ISI officials, including the organization's director, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, have been called as witnesses in the case.

According to his 2009 visa application, Davis was born in Wise, Va. He gave an address in Las Vegas, where he is listed in Nevada state registration records as the co-owner of a firm called Hyperion Protective Services.

On Sunday, the widow of one of the men killed by Davis committed suicide in the city of Faisalabad. According to a doctor at the hospital where she was admitted after ingesting rat poison, she said she did it because she feared Davis would be released without facing trial.

Brulliard reported from Islamabad. Special correspondent Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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